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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Speaking in Tongues

Don Stewart :: Is There Such a Thing as Singing in Tongues?

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Is There Such a Thing as Singing in Tongues?

The Gift of Speaking in Tongues – Question 14

Some non-cessationists practice what is known as “singing in tongues.” This is where the congregation joins together in singing in syllables that is not part the native language of each person. Many have testified to the great spiritual blessing of such an experience. There is one passage that seems to speak of “singing in the spirit.” It reads as follows.

What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also (1 Corinthians (14:15 NRSV).

It is contended that singing in the spirit is in contrast to singing with words that are understandable. Is this what is meant?

There Is No Biblical Basis for This to Happen

Contrary to the testimony of some who feel that congregational singing in tongues is a blessing to them, there is no biblical basis for such an occurrence. The Bible is very plain as to what can, and cannot, happen during a worship service. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that there is not to be any congregational tongue-speaking. He wrote the following to the Corinthians.

It follows that speaking in other languages is intended as a sign, not to believers but to unbelievers. But prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers. Therefore if the whole church assembles together, and all are speaking in [other] languages, and people who are uninformed or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? (1 Corinthians 14:22, 23 HCSB).

If there is not to be any congregation tongue-speaking, neither should there be any congregational tongue-singing. Unbelievers will assume that everyone is crazy if they all spoke in tongues at the same time. The same holds true if the entire group of believers begins to sing in tongues.

Not Everyone Has the Gift of Tongues

There is something else which should be considered in this. The Bible teaches that not every believer has the gift of speaking in tongues. Since this is what Scripture teaches on the subject, congregational singing in tongues should not be possible unless we want to assume that everyone in that particular group has been given this spiritual gift.

This is another reason as to why congregational singing or speaking in tongues is not a biblical way of doing things.

Therefore, the idea that a congregation should sing together in tongues is something that Scripture forbids. This is something which believers, when gathered together, should never practice.

Summary – Question 14
Is There Such a Thing as Singing in Tongues?

Today, there are churches which actually sing together in tongues. The means that the entire congregation, or at least part of it, sings in tongues at the same time. This is done publicly and often loudly. While there are certain Christians who practice congregational “singing in tongues” there is no such biblical experience.

The answer is no. The Apostle Paul set down a number of rules for using tongues. For one thing, he makes it clear that if the entire congregation spoke in tongues unbelievers would assume everyone was crazy. The same would certainly hold true for any type of congregational tongue-singing. Unbelievers would be under the assumption that something was mentally wrong with the group. Indeed, Paul stressed that any speaking in tongues must be done one at a time and always with an interpreter present. In addition to this, we know that not every believer has been given the gift of speaking in tongues. This being the case, it seems to rule out congregational singing in tongues because only certain members of the group would have the gift. Therefore, congregational singing in tongues has no biblical basis for taking place. Any congregation that practices something like this is doing it in spite of what the Bible has to say on the matter.

Does Paul's Statement about "Inexpressible Groans" Refer to Praying in Tongues? ← Prior Section
Is It Proper to Gather to Speak in Tongues? Next Section →
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